Raising a Blended Family


So, I’ve been a “single parent” for the past two weeks while Shorty is away on her work trip. I have one more week to go. I was also a “single parent” for the week and a half we were in San Die.go, with only a week in between stints in which I had Shorty as my coparent by my side. So needless to say, I am feeling a little bit of fatigue surrounding being the only adult solely responsible for my children!

Yes, others have been around to help- my mother comes to mind- but it’s not the same as having my wife because, at the end of the day, my mom can choose to say “nope, don’t feel like changing that, your turn” or “oh hey, I’m tired, I’m going to go take a nap.” She and other helpers are not constantly on duty as I am, so it’s different, plus she’s gone home now so I’m alone again anyways.

Today was particularly trying because… well, it just was. The day started with my son climbing my cabinets and pulling down one of my favorite candle-lamps, shattering it into a million tiny pieces. It then proceeded with red raspberries rubbed into white carpets, pots and pans and silverware strewn everywhere, and general chaos. We decided to go to the Children’s Museum here to get out of the house and go somewhere specifically designed FOR children- but still nope. He ran away from me many many times, fell into a bubble pit with his shoes on (twice), and threw a plastic play stool at a little girl a bit younger at him, knocking her completely on her patootie (though to be fair I’m pretty sure that one was an accident). Home for more chaos until bedtime and this mama is EXHAUSTED.

I’ve been feeling like I’ve been coping pretty well most of this time, up until today. The house has been pretty clean, kids have been fed, laundry has been done, homework has been done, and dishes put away… but today was overwhelming and a good reminder of WHY it is nice to have my coparent by my side. Yes, I CAN do it by myself but I prefer not to! Everything is easier and more fun with my wife by my side- I can laugh at kid messes, have someone to talk with, and someone to trade off duties with. In short, I have the partner I married, had children with, and have come to rely on. Plus, I just miss my wife. One more week!

*apology to single parents (by choice or otherwise) for my whining. It is not my purpose to belittle your experience with my whining. I admire you!


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there will be a PW’d post here soon. It’s been a long time, so I wanted to give a heads up to new readers who may not have the password. It’s still the same one. Comment if you need it.


I’ll Do It Myself (But Not Without Making a Huge Mess)

Such is the balance of toddlerhood in our household these days. Full-fledged desire to do everything himself meets not-fully-developed hand-eye coordination meets complete disregard for the, ahem, cleanliness of his surroundings. Usually what you get is a ginormous mess, but one satisfied toddler. Yes folks, independence truly has reared its ugly (fascinating, amazing, reallyitsagoodthingbutsometimesit’shardtocelebrate) head and I have a sinking feeling it is here to STAY.

Most of his independence requests are simple: He wants to climb onto his changing table himself, for example. Totally fine! Climb away kiddo, we’ve had that crap bolted to the wall for ages. Or he wants to be the one to “read” the book (again, totes fine. And adorable.). Some requests get a little more complicated: He wants to hold his full glass of milk without a lid (because the waiter obviously never had kids) all by himself at the restaurant when we don’t have a change of clothes, or he would prefer to eat his yogurt with no help when I would prefer that my carpet stay clean today. Still other requests for independence are impossible to fulfill: he is more and more often requesting to walk rather than be back-carried, and when he walks he will hold our hand fine for about one minute but will soon be requesting “go! go!” (let go, let go) and the second you do he darts away. This is problematic in a store or public place and even more problematic on a busy street- he has no sense of self-preservation and will run into danger without a second thought.

This last bit is becoming more and more problematic, actually, as he often throws temper tantrums when he needs to be carried but doesn’t want to go, and makes it hard for us to carry him. The other day I was trying to put him into the carrier my brother was wearing and he screamed and grabbed a double handful of hair at the nape of my neck, using it as leverage to pull himself away from my brother. He ended up with a fistful of hair complete with roots- and yes, it hurt. I cried.  Other times he will throw himself down on the floor when we don’t let go of his hand as requested, and he does not care if the place he throws himself down is a puddle of muddy water or a patch of oil in a parking space.  It makes life a little bit difficult, though I know it’s totally developmentally normal and is the only way he currently knows how to express frustration and other upset feelings. So, we will work through it and continue to say yes when it is feasible and no when it is not.

One good thing is that offering him choices sometimes works and soothes the frustration.  They are always choices I can live with, such as “would you rather hold this hand or this hand?” while offering both hands from which to choose, rather than “would you like to hold my hand” when not holding a hand really isn’t an option because of safety. I forget where I read this method but it explained that the reason it works is because it gives them a little bit of control over their lives, which stops them from feeling helpless and frustrated. Honestly, I don’t really care why it works though- it could be voodoo magic for all I care and if it works and makes us both happy, then I’m all for it! Today it stopped a post-lunch tantrum in full steam: He was mad because I was wiping the yogurt he’d just eaten off his everywhere, and he was squirming and screaming and we were getting nowhere. I suddenly remembered this technique and stopped for a second and asked him, “Paxton, would you like me to wipe this hand or that hand?” while pointing at each one as I asked. He stopped mid-wail to consider, then happily offered his left hand to be cleaned and then his right. I’m not saying it works like that all the time but that was a pretty freakin’ magical moment in our household and I will happily take it and any others like it that come my way!

It’s hard to believe that we’re at this stage already, with him asserting more and more independence around every turn, but we are and moms had better learn to deal with it, STAT.

Below, the Yogurt Face, pre-wash. Still pretty damn cute, even when he’s all pissed off and screaming. 🙂




It’s the little things…

…that make me feel like a real live bonafide mommy to this little boy-child of mine. If I rush through the day I will miss them, but if I stop to appreciate each one they all add up to the same thing: somewhere along the way, in my ** years of life, I grew up, left my own childhood behind, and became a mommy in someone else’s childhood.

It is mind-boggling to think about, how much I have changed and grown because of the existence of this tiny little being, but it is undeniable. I do things only mommies do, say things only mommies say, help in ways only mommies help, and enjoy it all in ways only mommies can.

I am a mommy, with all that that entiails. Included in the sacred duties of this job I have grown into:

-getting him some grapes when he sees them in the fridge and calls out “‘nack! Nack! MOMMY, ‘NACK, WAPES, tee too!”

-reading him a book after he brings it to me, says “tee too” (thank you) and climbs up on my lap without waiting to see if I say yes or no (it’s always yes. Obviously.)

-enjoying the look of delight on his face when I fix a broken toy or turn on a power switch and suddenly a favorite toy lights up into action

-fulfilling song requests where he asks for “book” but then starts singing the first few verses of the song he wants and claps on delight when you join in

-noticing how when you kiss him, he automatically says “wub ooooooo” now with a long drawn-out “you” (lovelovelovelove this one)

-sleepy morning wake-ups with a snuggly boy and not so sleepy wake-ups where the boy is wide awake before I even know what’s happening and wakes me up with his face an inch from mine and an insistent “up. UP. Mommy, UP!”

-picking up in the evenings when the house is quiet and finding all the little ways he has played with his toys during the day. How he has stacked the blocks just so inside the refrigerator of his toy kitchen, or discovering his train nestled in the back of his dump truck. Little clues into how his busy mind is working and understanding the world.

-cuddling him when he needs it, whether it is because he is hurt and needs comfort or is tired and overstimulated and looks to snuggle on my shoulder for a respite.

I love it all. Through difficult times and adorable times, mommyhood is my passion now. I live it and love it and cannot imagine going back now that I have experienced it. It is all-encompassing!






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